Rennie Harris Funkedified is an evening-long multimedia presentation that navigates pathways linking funk music and street dance of the ‘70s to the hip-hop culture of today. Choreographed and narrated by Harris himself, the show was performed recently at The University of Texas’ Bass Concert Hall in Austin using ME-500 personal mixers from Allen & Heath.

Production for the event was provided by Austin’s own StageTech, Inc., which additionally brought in an Allen & Heath dLive S7000, multiple dLive S Class MixRacks, a GLD80 and an array of Allen & Heath’s ME personal mixing systems. Deployed for use by six musicians onstage, the ME-500 personal mixers provided a walk-up mix solution that quickly let the band build and control its own mixes.

 

MORE FUNK IN THE TRUNK WITH ALLEN & HEATH

 

“We knew we weren’t going to have much time with the musicians beforehand,” recalls StageTech’s Charles Mester. “So we configured each of the ME-500 systems in a fashion that made the best use of each of their 16 available inputs.”

Using the available ME output port in monitor world, the six ME-500 units were quickly daisy-chained and auto-populated via a single ethernet cable running between each. In a move calculated to benefit overall efficiencies, Mester created a drum subgroup that was the sum of all of the drum channels and assigned it to a single input on each ME-500. The remaining 15 ME-500 channels were given over to independent voices and instruments that would serve as a palette from which each musician could pick and choose as they pleased.

 

MORE FUNK IN THE TRUNK WITH ALLEN & HEATH

 

Once the monitor desk was set up the StageTech crew had the ME-500s up and running in under 30 minutes. Despite none of the musicians having ever used one of the devices before, shortly after a 30-second tutorial from Mester the entire band was comfortable with the mixes they created.

“In theory we could have kept daisy-chaining up to any scale,” Mester adds. “The system was a good option for us because it kept stage volume down in an environment where we already had a lot of wedges for the dancers and placed the band’s control right in front of them. Anywhere there are a lot of moving parts onstage the ME-500s are beneficial. We placed a lot of funk in the trunk, that’s for sure.”